Ababhemu is the name given to a group of talented Durban-based artists who will be exhibiting selected artworks at the Playhouse Company this Friday, 3 June 2016. The exhibition is for one night only starting at 18:00 coinciding with the opening night of Poet in a Suit. Admission to this exhibition is absolutely free, however, tickets will need to be purchased for entry to the poetry event. Ababhemu will be showcasing their artworks at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown this year as well, so to have a sneak peak of what’s on offer and how our “Durban comrades” will be representing us, we urge the public to come and view the phenomenal art on display.
Five of the artists that will be exhibiting include Lunga Mkhize the enigmatic self-taught artist who hails from Clermont in KwaZulu Natal currently residing in the Bluff. His love for art started from a tender age, delving in pencils portraits (commissions), paintings, abstracts and bottled artefacts. Mkhize states that, “My first love is people, their culture and their era in which they exist. I religiously believe in the talent that was bestowed upon me.” His work has been commissioned nationally and has reached as far as Namibia and England.
The next artist, Khulekani Cele was born in KwaZulu Natal at Mpumalanga Township Hammarsdale, South Africa. Cele has a National Diploma in Fine Art at Durban University of Technology. Cele always knew that his true passion in life is arts. After his matriculation in 2011 he studied the basics of painting and linocut in a group called Velobala in 2012, funded by African Art Centre. Cele participated in 12 group exhibitions. Cele is currently living in Durban. The type of art making he is interested in is; printmaking, Ceramics and Drawing. Cele states that, “In my artistic practice I am interested in visually subverting the ordinary by interrogating perception, in the way we visualize objects and people in making sense of the world. My work has been inspired by observing how people normally visualize objects and others through their preconceived knowledge and comparing with reality.”
The third artist, Eugene Hlophe, born and grew up in West Durban Township. He studied fine art at the Durban University of Technology where he has obtained a diploma in Fine Art. He is currently still studying at DUT pursuing his Btech degree. Hlophe was the first recipient of the Young Artist Award (2015) supported by AFH (Art for Humanity) and DAG (Durban Art Gallery) at the DUT Gallery, South Africa. Hlophe’s work has been selected as a finalist in a major Art Competition: Sasol New Signatures (2015) and eThekwini art prize (2015). Hlophe has participated in the “Aweh! What You Say Bout What” group exhibition at the KZNSA as well as the “Dimensions and Spaces” exhibition at the DUT Gallery in 2014. He specifically works with sculptural medium as well as installation art.
The fourth artist is Devika Pillay, her brand is called D-zyns Project Developers now trading as Colour Palette Art Gallery and Studio.The nature of her business is Interior Decorating and Fine art. Her work comprises of commissioned artworks in the form of Murals, oil paintings and 3D art on walls as well as Modern Contemporary art. These artworks adorn the walls of Albert Luthuli central hospital. Crompton ICU, Westville hospital and many doctors rooms as well as homes in and around Durban. Commissions extend to portraits of families presidents and politicians and Nobel peace prizewinners eg. Former president Nelson Mandela, Albert Luthuli, Gandhi and Steve Biko. According to Pillay, “The highlight of my life was meeting Nelson Mandela and presenting him with a painting of himself. He is the inspiration of my work in general addressing the plight of others.” Pillay also teaches art to budding young artists as well as older artists. Her vision is to promote an endless palette of creative expression amongst all artists; to produce high end artworks and become an internationally known artist and to produce affordable art to collectors, and to encourage other up and coming artists to persevere in producing art and help nurture the talent. Her accomplishments include receiving 2 awards for best fine art in November 2013; second runner up as Umhlanga Business Achiever of the year in December 2013; receiving 2nd place in the KZNSA gallery members exhibition in January 2014; winner of the MOAG Awards best drawing in 2014; winner of the Artspace Exhibition themed Windows in 2014. Her artworks feature in the book “Art and artist in South Africa” and is presently studying fine art through Unisa. I recently opened an Art Studio and Gallery at 8 Morrison street call “Colour Palette”. I am one of the few pioneers in this new venture of Regeneration of the inner City centre. Being a Durbanite and passionate about the people that live here, prompted me to be part of this amazing project. This is the perfect platform to feature my work as well as that of local artists from the province in regular exhibitions.
The fifth artist that will be exhibiting is Anda Doda who creates ceramic sculptures that build on his strong cultural traditions as well his interest in recent developments in glaze chemistry. They are also a reflection on the artist’s attraction to landscapes and his study as to why other people may have the need to document land. Doda notes, “As I continue exploring landscapes, I am fascinated by the process of change. I investigate ruins that have been left bare, and try to trace any source of civilisation that might still be there. Landscapes bring up many questions. Especially those of ownership which is something that I also explore as I deconstruct and reconstruct landforms.” Doda’s education and training is quite extensive: 2015, MAFAR, Masters in Fine Arts (currently); 2014, BA Honours, UKZN, Fine Art Degree ; 2014, The Business of Art Course; 2013, BA Visual Art, UKZN Fine Art Degree. In 2015, Doda curated Power and Visual Culture 30th Annual SAVAH Conference: Jack Heath Gallery and in the same year was a tutor for Art History, AHIS-Modernism and Museum Studies, Centre for Visual Arts, UKZN. Exhibitions and Commissions include: 2015, Absa Atelier Regional Competition. Absa Gallery, Johannesburg; 2015, Looking Backwards: Looking Forwards. David Walters and Friends. William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley; 2015, Works in Progress. Centre for Visual Art, UKZN PMB; 2014, David Walters and Friends Legacy Exhibition-Juliet Armstrong. Alphen Estate-Constantia, (The Great Cellar) Cape Town.